2013 Lost Hero

2013 Winner - The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

[Props: Worksheets; coach/baseball cap. Print out four copies and recruit three teen volunteers to play the roles of Jason, Leo, and Coach Hodges. I find it easier if you highlight each script with different colros: yellow for Jason, blue for the narrator, etc.) You’re the narrator. Hand worksheets to Jason & Leo; the baseball cap to the Coach. Group Jason & Leo to one side, Coach Hodges and the narrator on the other.]

Narrator:  We join our characters on a field trip on a bridge over part of the Grand Canyon. They’re not really paying attention to the worksheet or the tour, because they’ve got bigger issues. And I’m not talking about the freak thunderstorm brewing over the canyon. 

Jason:  Seriously, Leo, you’re my friend, right?

Leo:  Last I checked.

Jason: So when did we meet? What did we talk about?

Leo: I…  I don’t remember. C’mon, I’m ADHD, man. You can’t expect me to remember the details…

Jason: But I don’t remember you at all. I don’t remember anyone here! What if--?

Leo: What if you’re right and everyone is wrong? You think you just magically appeared here this morning and we’ve all got fake memories of you? Even your girlfriend? Even PIPER?

Jason: Yes!

Coach Hodges: [walks over to Jason] Hey, kid: Are you doing this? [Gesture around you]

Jason: Do what--?? You mean… Are you seriously asking me if the thunderstorm is my fault?

Coach Hodges: [Glares at Jason, angrily]: Don’t play games with me! What are you doing here, and why are you messing up my job?

Jason: You mean… you don’t know me? I’m not one of your students?

Coach Hodges: Never seen you before!  Look kid, I don’t know who you are. I just know what you are, and it’s trouble. Now I got three of you to protect, not just two. . I can smell the monsters, and know he’s being stalked. [Point at “Leo".]

Leo: Monsters? Stalked--?!

Coach Hodges: Pipe down, Leo. [To “Jason”]  So I guess you’re the special package they told me about. I got a message from the camp about a special extraction team coming.  So if you’re the special package, just hang tight. We’ll get you to the camp and let the director sort it all out.

Jason: The camp? The director? What is going ON here??!!

Coach Hodges: Just sit tight. Reinforcements should be here soon. Hopefully nothing will happens before—


That’s when the lightning struck the bridge and miniature tornados swirled down out of the sky, and Dylan, one of the kids on the field trip? He dissolved into black smoke and attacked them.

Jason Hodges, his “girlfriend” Piper and his buddy Leo are all demi-gods headed for Camp Half-Blood, where the children of the gods can grow up safe until they’re ready to fight the monsters who hunt them. The problem is that Leo and Piper and all his memories of them are totally fake. Jason has NO memories of his past. Worse he is prophesied to become the key to either saving the gods, and the half-bloods—or destroying them all.

Percy Jackson has gone missing. The titans are rising. And it’s all up to Jason, Leo and Piper….

Booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, Teen Librarian
King County Library System

Split by Swati Avasthi

Sixteen year old Jace has less than $4.00 in his pocket, a busted face, and not much else, unless you count a long list of memories he'd really rather forget. After a marathon drive from Chicago to New Mexico, Jace has finally arrived at the only place he could think of to go, the only place where he might be safe: his brother's house. The only problem is, Jace hasn't seen his brother in five years, much less talked to him, so he doesn't know if Christian will even take him in. He'll definitely be turned away if Christian finds out what happened to make Jace leave town, which meansit's time to start lying...

Split is a compelling look at a family ruined by domestic violence, but it is also a rewarding book about trust, healing, and how two brothers learn to live life for themselves.

Booktalk by Summer Hayes, Teen Librarian
King County Library System

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Nailer works as part of a disassembly crew for abandoned oil tankers on the US gulf coast, stripping out recyclable materials like copper wiring.  If the dangerous conditions and low pay made him think of quitting, there are hundreds of kids begging for the same job.  When he lucks out and discovers a windblown luxury yacht that has washed up on the shore with a “swanky” girl on board, it could be the biggest thing ever to happen to him, or it could cause his quick death. The other crews will want to control the yacht, as will his abusive, addicted father, who wouldn’t hesitate to hurt Nailer to get what he needs.  Soon Nailer and the girl are on the run, with only a beefy, nearly-indestructible, genetically engineered, dog-man named Tool for their companion.  Nailer and his new crew must get to safety in the drowned city of New Orleans, or the brutal crews will catch up with them.

Booktalk by Mike Fleming, Teacher-Librarian
Pacific Cascade Middle School


Ship Breaker Booktalk #2

Hi, my name is Pima.  I live in Bright Sands beach on the Gulf Coast with my mother Sadna.  My best friend Nailer and I work on light crew, scavenging what we can off of grounded oil tankers, things like copper wire that we can sell so we can have food to eat.  Nailer's a good guy, nothing like his father, Richard Lopez.  That man is always sliding high on drugs or alcohol and would kill a man without a second thought.  Nailer and I, we're always looking for our lucky strike – the discovery that will make us rich so that we never have to go work down in the bowels of a ship again.  And then it happens.  A big storm, a city wrecker like the kind that took out Orleans one and two, washes a fine new clipper ship ashore, and Nailer and I are the first ones to discover it.  The boat is filled with things that we can sell for money – fine china, real silverware, and plenty of brass and copper.  Lying on a bed in one of the rooms is a dead girl, pinned under a bookcase, her fingers dripping with gold jewelry.  Just as I'm about to cut off her fingers, her eyes open.  Blast...  I told Nailer we should just cut the rich swank, she's dying anyway, and sell all the scavenge.  But I like a said, Nailer's not like his old man.  Not only does he rescue the girl, but he swears a blood oath to her.  And this isn't just any rich girl – her name is Nita Chaudhury, the daughter of the owner of Patel Global Transit, one of the richest companies in the world.  Nailer's hoping that Nita is his ticket to a better life away from Bright Sands beach, but with his father and others on their tail, will he even live to be something other than a shipbreaker?

Booktalk by Rachel McDonald, Teen Librarian
King County Library Services

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

A chill is not all that awaits sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray in the damp fog of Victorian England as she arrives from New York City to look for her brother. Terrifying creatures lurk in the darkness of London’s Downworld. Tessa is kidnapped and tormented by the sinister Dark Sisters until she unlocks her power to transform into other people. This ability, previously unknown to Tessa, makes her a coveted prize for their leader, the Magister.  But, London and all its inhabitants do not go unprotected. Shadowhunters, including beautiful but angry Will and kind-hearted but doomed Jem, are duty bound to keep order. When Tessa’s path crosses with the Shadowhunters she is saved, at least for the moment, and is allowed refuge at the Institute. There she struggles to figure out what she is, where her brother has gone and, perhaps most unsettling, why she is irresistibly drawn to both Will and Jem. These questions lead her down a dangerous path where the fate of the world and her heart are at stake.

Booktalk by Kirsten Gunn, National Board Certified Teacher-Librarian
Highline High School

Matched by Ally Condie

Seventeen-year-old Cassia lives in The Society.  Everything in The Society is perfectly coordinated.  Nobody questions decisions made by The Society.  How much Cassie eats, where she will work and live and when she will die has been determined for her by The Society.  Even whom she will marry will be revealed via live video feed at her matching ceremony. 

Nothing ever goes wrong in The Society. 

Until Cassia is shown first one match and then a second match.  Unusually Cassia knows both of her matches.  She briefly sees an image of Ky, an outsider deemed an “Aberration” by the Society and not supposed to be eligible for matching.  His image is quickly replaced by that of Xander, who Cassia has known since childhood.  After the ceremony Cassia begins to question:  Was the Ky a better match?  What else has been forbidden?  Is the Society, her family, her life as perfect as it seems?  Cassia’s choices will have far-reaching effects.

Matched is and exciting dystopian story—and lucky for readers this book is just the first in a trilogy.

See the book trailer for Matched here: http://www.matched-book.com/

Booktalk by Amber Peterson, Teacher-Librarian
Beaver Lake Middle School

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

The moon reflects on the ocean, waves gently wash onto the shore, and at 2:00am in a sleepy beach town Auden is wide awake.  It is the summer before she starts college and in addition to dealing with her parents’ divorce and her father’s new life which includes a new wife and baby, Auden struggles with her own sense of self.  Being raised by parents who focused on intelligence and could not connect with one another, Auden’s main coping skill of getting perfect grades and isloating suddenly doesn’t work anymore.  And while wandering the beach town streets at night she meets another insomniac, Eli.  Not only is he very attractive to her but he is also dealing with his own issues of love and loss.  Together they forge a friendship that could be something more if Auden’s heart will relax enough to allow her to let go.  Just like how riding a bicycle takes a balance of letting go and making decisions, she tries to learn how to trust herself and others. But will she be able to learn before the summer, and possibly her chance at love, is over?

Booktalk by Kathleen Dunbar, Teacher-Librarian
Cleveland High School

Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride 

Sam is just an average guy – happily living a slacker life, working at Plumpy’s as a fry cook, and hanging out with his friends.  His philosophy is that he may be a drop-out loser, but he’s going to be the BEST dropout loser he can be.  One afternoon after a game of potato hockey in the back parking lot, a strange man comes in.  He grabs Sam, lifts him up by his shirt sending a bolt of cold electricity through Sam, and demands to know what he’s is doing in Seattle without permission of the Council.  Sam has no idea what he’s talking about.  Later that night on his way out of the restaurant, yet another man grabs him, sniffs him and says “you smell like the grave…..and blood.”  When Sam’s friend tries to run the creepy guy over with his car, creepy guy tears the bumper off! The next day a unexpected package is delivered to Sam’s apartment.  Inside is the disembodied head of his best friend, Brooke.  That would be scary enough, but Brooke’s head begins to TALK!  But it’s all good because she’s kept her sassy personality even without her body.  That’s when things get really interesting!

In another part of town, the hot daughter of the leader of Seattle’s werewolf pack has been kidnapped and is being held in an iron cage.  And Douglas, her captor, has Sam in his sights.  You see, Sam’s mother is a witch and Sam is a necromancer – someone with the ability to raise the dead.  Sam is unaware of his powers, but once he is trained, he will be a threat to Douglas’ powers.  Douglas is out to eliminate the competition before it get out of hand.

Sam’s adventure on the dark side is a real roller coaster ride.  Who knew that Seattle is inhabited all manner of paranormal creatures?  The story of Sam and his friends (both human and not) is a funny, scary story (or a scary, funny) first novel by a young, quirky Seattle author.  Be ready to laugh one minute and cringe the next. 

Booktalk by Diane Ferbrache, Teacher-Librarian
Renton Schools

Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Amber explains, “Forget about peeing, unless you want to shiver your butt off—literally.  And it’s pretty lonely too.”  Abandoned by her dad and a string of her mother’s bad boyfriends, Amber is homeless and living in a school bus with her dog Thrice B (Bobby Big Boy) and her alcoholic mom.

How does she cope? She reaches out to other outcasts: the geek gang she plays computer games with at lunch, the elders at a local nursing home, a Vietnam vet, with PTS, and the Korean women who are learning English at Father Chee’s church. 

Amber is strong in many ways. She takes a stand on what she believes in.  She loves people and the places they take her.

A violent tragedy changes everything.  

This novel will touch your heart. It will make you laugh out loud and sob like a baby. This book is for all of you who live outside the edge of normal………………. or not.

This book may change your life.

Booktalk by Donna Bartholomew, Teacher-Librarian
Pine Lake Middle School

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman 

Tennyson and Brontë are twins, who (big surprise) are the children of literature professors. There lives are just as comfortable and well off as you'd imagine.

Brewster Rawlins lives with his eight-year-old brother Cody on their uncle's run down former farm in the middle of the suburbs.

Not much is known about Brewster, except that because of his hulking size and quiet manner, everyone calls him Bruiser.

Brontë decides that she wants to date Brewster and this sends her hot-headed brother into fits. But after confronting Brewster, Tennyson changes his mind, and decides to give him a chance,  although he also wants to find out more about this mysterious kid in his class.

It turns out that Brewster has a special ability. He can actually absorb the pain of someone he cares for. Up util now, Bruiser's power has been only been used to protect his little brother Cody from their uncle.  Brewster has kept it all a secret by being quiet and never really having any friends.

As Tennyson and Brontë's injuries start to mysteriously disappear, and their athletic abilities grow, they slowly realize just what Brewster can do. Tennyson and Brontë begin to draw Brewster out of his shell, thinking they're helping him, but Brewster's uncle has other ideas. His rage drives him to a frenzy that will change things forever.

You'll hear each person's side of the story: bullying Tennyson, compassionate Brontë, poetic Brewster, and Cody's little kid voice.

They say the ones you love the most are the ones who can hurt you worst. In Bruiser's case that's literally true. Find out what happens to him in Bruiser.

Booktalk by Shawn Crosby, Teen Librarian
King County Library System

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie swears she’s a normal teen. Even though she’s been working for the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency) ever since she was found wandering alone as child, and can see through the glamours that paranormals use to hide their true forms. She has the same ups and downs as regular teens. She's got problems with her faery ex-boyfriend, loves her pink bedazzled taser (she calls it tasey), is obsessed with a teenaged soap opera and has a newfound fascination for the incarcerated shape-shifter Lend. But Evie’s normal life is about to become much stranger…paranormals across the world have begun turning up dead and their deaths seem connected to a prophecy that might be about her.

Booktalk by Jocelyn Redel, Teen Librarian
Sno-Isle Regional Library